A Report from Greece

Via e-mail, a reading of public sentiment in Greece from reader Scott S, who is a TV/movie industry professional and did the trailer for ECONNED. I have gotten similar. albeit more brief accounts from other readers. One reader with s in Greece did stress that the protests, at least as of the end of June, were overwhelmingly peaceful and added:

There is clear videotaped evidence showing certain apparently violent individuals doing things like happily entering police stations, and receiving clubs while hanging out with the police.

The Greek and international media have been successfully portraying the protests as the violence of hoodlums.

That video you posted from Clusterstock today (the policeman walks up and strikes the protester down with a club) is much more provocative if you understand Greek. Just before the protester is whacked, he cries out, “Don’t hit me!” Then random rubbish is thrown at the police – but then loud shouts are heard from the protesters, “Don’t throw anything at them!”

Now to the latest sighting via Scott S:

I’m in Greece right now staying with friends and I wanted to send you a brief report.

The mood is tense and people are very unhappy with what’s happening to their country. From what i can tell, only the extreme heat is preventing people from turning out in large numbers to protest the extremely unpopular sell-off of Greek assets to save the banks. Strikes are being planned and one Greek-Canadian businessman friend left the country in a hurry yesterday for fear of being trapped here. Look for the situation to intensify in September.

The authorities here are nervous, to say the least. The young son of my host’s close friends was sentenced two days ago to 25 years in prison for agitation. He was hardly a radical – he was a promising student of naval architecture at the Athens Technical University. Examples are being set.

A group of Greek business owners and professors with whom I’m acquainted has drafted the following call to action:

The law for the sell-off of Greek assets and Greek national sovereignty was passed to avert national bankruptcy, because the EU, ECB, IMF and Greek government insisted that bankruptcy would be the end.

Yet today the lie has been revealed. After having given up national sovereignty, archeological sites, islands, beaches, and state assets – our past and our future – Greece is now officially bankrupt.

We have the historical responsibility to stop the looting of our Greek heritage. Safeguarding the country is now in our hands.

The level of political awareness here is far higher than in America, but it will be interesting to see if people are able to change what the authorities have planned for them. I suspect that Greece is a small rehearsal for what will be coming to the US eventually, in one form or another.

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94 comments

  1. attempter

    The policeman walks up and strikes the protester down with a club. Just before the protester is whacked, he cries out, “Don’t hit me!” Then random rubbish is thrown at the police – but then loud shouts are heard from the protesters, “Don’t throw anything at them!”

    It sounds like that sure worked. Not throwing things, that is. Now why would anyone think what worked in Egypt against thugs bent on brutality shouldn’t be done in Greece? Is it a racial thing?

    It sounds like the Greeks, while far more active than Americans, are still nowhere near as intrepid as the Egyptians and Tunisians and others around the Arab world.

    1. and i

      Sure is fun to criticize everyone but yourself as you sit in your chair in front of the computer, hey attempter? Seems to be the only thing that rouses you.

      1. attempter

        What’s your evidence for that?

        My criticisms, unlike yours, are always based on evidence. Like the one above. (You have heard that there was a partially successful revolt in Egypt, which required lots of actions like “throwing stuff”, haven’t you?)

        1. Anonymous Jones

          You are completely delusional, and it’s clear that no matter how much evidence is thrown at you, you will never recant, never give an inch on any of your preposterously loony ideas about the structure of society and your grandly insane utopian nonsense, which is grounded more in misanthropy, arrogance and deep self-hatred than any “insight” you mistakenly think you have.

          As you have made clear for years, it’s a waste of “and i’s” time to engage you with facts or logic or anything rational for that matter. Does it not strike you as odd that you know *everything* and that you’re *never* wrong, and you go on and on from your armchair in the middle of nowhere defending things that you clearly have no real knowledge about or experience in? Except for a few comments about the animal pictures, I don’t ever remember a single actual useful contribution on your part. Your only guiding principle seems to be finding a way to suppress your inner self-doubt and self-hatred by spewing your vile at everyone else who is supposedly not as pure as you are. As if that could ever fix the problems that haunt your inner thoughts.

          You are unique, as is everyone else. That doesn’t make you special. Your outward aggression and hatred only show how deeply delusional you are about your place in the world, and your dreams of megalomania that are rooted in your desperate longing to control something that cannot be controlled (e.g., your own instincts, your own failings, the people around you, and the rest of the universe) make you perhaps worse than those you constantly accuse of failing to meet “your” sanctimonious standards.

          Seriously, if they did a similarity score on you (like they do with professional basketball players), the most comparable utopian would be Pol Pot.

          Cheers!

          1. craazyman

            AJ didn’t you once post right here on this board that you have an 8 figure net worth?

            I can’t remember if it was you, but whoever it was I said “Send me $2 million so I can ascend to the absinthe bar” and posted an address but never got a check.

            You can’t just drink attempter without diluting it. It’s like wheat grass in the health food store, I don’t know how people drink that stuff straight. It smells like a bag full of wet lawnmower clippings, the clumpy stuff you scrape from the blades of the mower when it clogs.

            I’m not sure if folks with 8 figure net worths actually mow their own lawns, but it may be you just got lucky with the money. haha hahahahahah! — and yer a tough lawnmowing kind of dude in real life, maybe with a tatoo.

            Wheat grass juice is probably healthy and rebellion is at some point not a matter of opinion but a force of nature, like gravity. Not sure what they were thinking at the Big Squid when they helped them hide that debt. I guess they think everything is a straight line, like in all the graphs they make with Powerpoint, rather than a circle that goes right up their ass and into the crown chakra. Once it penetrates all the outer defensive circles of ideological nonsense it starts to enlarge itself and I think that’s when the migraines begin. and the bad dreams.

          2. Maria

            That’s harsh. I agree with his comment that the Greeks are not as intrepid as the Egyptians. (I am Greek-American.) Many Greeks would hate me for saying that. But I don’t know. They’re pausing the protest because of the heat? That doesn’t sound right. Did people in Wisconsin wait for spring so that it wouldn’t be so cold? I am just an outsider, as I am here in the US. So perhaps I am wrong. There are some people who are extremely dedicated in Greece, as elsewhere. But there are too few of them. The folks who many in the West thought were the passionate protesters were likely agents provocateurs, and may be more responsible than the heat for stopping the momentum of the movement.

          3. Lloyd C Bankster

            AJ,

            Keep defending the status quo against all critics!

            You’ll notice DownSouth and many other status quo critics have been eliminated from NC. Excellent work! I’m so happy I could tap dance from 200 West Street all the way out to the Brooklyn Bridge!

            Now if you could just get rid of the attempter, I’ll see what I can do about getting Larry Summers to make a few comments on NC as an extra special treat.

            And, for your outstanding courage and tireless efforts in defense of the status quo, Larry and I will see what we can do about getting that pitiful 8 figure net worth of yours up closer to nine figures.

            All the best,

            Uncle Lloyd

          4. SR6719

            Defend the status quo!

            Kill all radicals and subversives in the United States!

            All five of them, all three of them, all two of them!

            Wait, there’s still one radical subversive left in the USA!

            Stop him before he undermines the entire system of global capitalism!

          5. Up the Ante

            You personas really must stop attacking yourselves.

            lol

            And one of the two? one? of you must stop self-loving yourself?/selves?

        2. and i

          I’m tired of your ‘more radical than thou’ routine. It’s way too convenient, and you should have figured that out by now. It’s entirely reasonable to agitate for action, it should be done. But that’s not what you’re doing, you’re belittling others, and you have no place doing that. Here’s the thing attempter, every comments section on the internet has someone like you, doing what you’re doing.

          In my saner moments I do wonder if you work for OFA, and you’re here to wet blanket everyone else with your negativity.

          Time to grow up a little. We’re more like you than we are different.

          1. attempter

            wet blanket everyone else with your negativity

            I’d say my diagnosis-to-prescription ratio, or in your terms negative-to-positive, is as good as anyone’s here, and quite frankly far better than that of most. I’ve presented a comprehensive set of principles, overall plan, and political strategy. Just because you’re still beholden to capitalism and representative government, in a word to elitism, and to a reformism that can’t possibly work, and you therefore don’t like my ideas, doesn’t change that.

          2. attempter

            As for growing up, I’m the one who wants the people to take responsibility for themselves. I’ve certainly done so for myself.

            You’re the one who wants us to remain the infantile wards of “Leaders” for the rest of our tenure on this earth, as history fizzles out with a whimper.

          3. and i

            Sure buddy. It doesn’t matter what you want, it matters what you do. Look at what you do, attempter.

          4. SR6719

            and i says: “It’s entirely reasonable to agitate for action, it should be done.”

            LOL.

            Yeah right, you sound about as radical as the Partridge Family.

            No, I take that back, your thought is so conventional it makes the Partridge Family look like Indian Maoist guerrillas.

          5. attempter

            Look at what you do, attempter.

            Yes?

            Let’s see: Working in food relocalization and other relocalization activities, advocating this philosophy and strategy in my writing, always attacking upward against power, doing whatever I can to help my friends. Those are the things I do. I don’t think my conscience will ever regret any of them, or anything I’m omitting.

            (That’s the second time you’ve gone in for unevidenced, non-responsive innuendo about me, clearly because you have no substantive reply to my argument.)

            It’s not at all clear what you do, on the other hand, other than be a kick-down concern troll. I know I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. Don’t you think it would become you better to openly come out in favor of the banksters, instead of lying about it?

          6. and i

            Yes, pot kettle black, I’m not responding to your argument. I don’t see your argument attempter, other than the greeks who were protesting were doing it wrong, and are inferior to you in some way.

            I’m getting the feeling I’m interacting here with the smooth sheen of mental illness, attempter. You have nothing I need, but good luck.

    2. Boilermaker

      I would not be so quick to praise the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. Although the acts and motivation of the demonstrators are admirable, the end results do not appear to be much different. Both countries had aging and ill dictators who wanted their children to replace them. That would have caused serious uprisings. Instead they found themselves removed from power due to “peaceful popular uprisings”. The pro-U.S. power structures in both countries remain in place and no real substantive changes have been introduced. The Greeks on the other hand raise the prospect of real revolt and repudiation of the corporate interests.

      1. attempter

        That’s true, which is why I said “partially successful”. I do admire the fight the Greeks have put up, though they have so much more to do, unfortunately. Like you said, there does seem to be more of an economic critique involved in their protest than with the Arab revolts, which have been primarily political (although in Egypt it was strikers who put the revolt over the top and forced Mubarak out).

        My point was that tactics have to be adapted to the situation and that making a fetish of pacifism is no virtue where you’re up against thugs who know nothing but violence themselves. I cited Egypt as proof of that and of the fact that fighting back on whatever level is necessary can work, but refusing to do so is unlikely to work. If the Egyptians had refused to “throw stuff” back at their assailants, Mubarak’s thugs would have driven them out of Tahrir Square, and that likely would’ve been the end. Their torture-broken bodies would now be languishing in dungeons. The ones who were still alive.

        1. Patricia

          I look at the police with their belts full of weapons and their face masks, gas masks, and body armour and then I see the vulnerability of all those demonstrators in their t-shirts and naked faces. It is completely ridiculous to get upset about throwing junk at the police. That it is an issue shows how frightened we are, that’s all. What, do we think those police are going to get hurt?

          Maybe it was a hideous act of violence when that demonstrator threw the pie pan of shaving cream at Murdoch this past week. Oooo, shaving cream in the eye!! Foil pan concussion!!

          And Murdoch was not covered head-to-toe with armor, oh what vulnerability!!!! So we’d better make sure the awful terrorist stays in jail a good long time for that murderous act.

          I’ll bet you that shaving-cream thrower gets 10 years.

          1. Patricia

            Because, see, we’re rightfully afraid of the 10 years, not that the dear policeman will get hurt. The truth is that whether we do or do not throw junk at the police, they are going to do willynilly whatever they want.

            How do I know? Well, look at how that policeman came right up to that bareheaded fellow human being and simply bashed him over the head. Was that legal? No. Was it ethical? No. Was in unprovoked? Absolutely. And what do you think will happen to the police man? Nothing. So, you see?

          2. Jeff

            Policemen are basically cowards everywhere. They go in with overwhelming force and “make sure that they go home at night”.Now while I applaud our local police, the guys
            who go after and arrest real criminals, stop drunk drivers, protect us from street psychos, I deplore the use of
            cop squads to stifle dissent.

            The solution to riot gear covered cops in close in a crowd is…………..paint.
            A super soaker filled with diluted water based paint will quickly render any plastic face covering that the cops wear, to and including
            protection from tear gas for the eyes,
            uselessly opaque.

    3. citalopram

      I still remember the footage out of Egypt during the protests, where the regime sent out a half a dozen horsemen, all of which were pulled off their horses by the crowd. I don’t know what happened to them after that, but it’s possible they were killed.

      Violence has its uses, and sometimes there are no other alternatives but to use it. Why are people in the United States so passive and so asleep? You poo-poo us for thinking outside the morality box, all the while blithely ignoring the mass murdering Federal government.

      For crying out loud, our country was born out of violence, and it was bloody and cruel, callous and vicious. The Founders even advocated it when a government turned tyrannical, and now it’s off the table because we’re so afraid. Cowards.

    4. Tim S

      Don’t be certain that Americans will always be so inactive.

      This post has gotten about 500 comments over at Huffingtonpost, and I’d estimate 90% say it CAN happen here:

      Could We Have Civil Unrest and Riots in the U.S. as a Result of Extreme Inequality?
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/martin-ford/could-we-have-civil-unres_b_906478.html

  2. liberal

    OT: via Yglesias, via Rortybomb: “Economics of Contempt” on Dodd-Frank, particularly on resolution authority:

    The real movement in this space has been in the so-called “resolution plans” that the major banks have to submit (and regularly update). The proposed rule on resolution plans was very strong — it ensures that the FDIC will have all the information it needs when it comes time to actually resolve a major bank. That’s crucial, because a successful resolution of a major bank will have to be planned out in advance and be reasonably comprehensive. The proposed resolution plan rule also allows the FDIC and the Fed to identify any legal or funding structures that would cause problems in a future resolution, and gives the FDIC the authority to force the banks to restructure in a way that would make a future resolution easier.

    [emphasis added]

    I find this very hard to believe; can anyone else fill in here?

    1. Foppe

      knowing EoC, he’s probably implicitly assuming that the banks will have and provide this information to the fdic out of sheer goodness.
      Having said that, I don’t know the details, sorry.

        1. Foppe

          EoC is a bit of an establishmentarian with his head in the sand with regards to the existence of crime, fraud, systemic corruption, etc.. Which makes some of his work a bit suspect.

    2. Patricia

      But even if EoC is correct, it matters not a whit. The FDIC has had plenty enough of the info it needed for a long time already and has simply sat on it. Many (of the “best”) banks that needed resolution a long time ago were instead slathered with taxpayer money so that the FDIC didn’t have to notice the rot underneath. Regulatory capture and all that.

      So whether up front or down back, EoC is full of it, really.

  3. Sufferin' Succotash

    If the U.s. of A. is going to wind up like Greece sooner or later, it might to be entirely a bad thing. Some national landmarks could be sold and maybe even offshored.

    http://creationmuseum.org/

    1. Psychoanalystus

      OK, I’m bidding 50 bucks on the Statue of Liberty. I think it would look great in my back yard.

      1. ambrit

        Dear Peof;
        There was a pretty good scifi story a decade or so back about the man who literally sold the Brooklyn Bridge, (talk about selling heritage sites!) to a wealthy Japaneese businessman. Then the customer sends the salesman a nice ‘present,’ a gold painted brick.

        1. Jeff

          Yup, and when the Allies built fake wooden military supply depots, the Germans dropped a wooden bomb on it to
          show them how fooled they were by it…

  4. Maju

    25 years for “agitation”?! That should be first page on all European media, they are right when the chant that “the Junta did not end in 1973” but it seems it has extended to all the continent if brutal repression like this is silenced the way it is.

    1. ambrit

      Agreed. This in the birthplace of Western Democracy too.
      However, such behaviour by a ruling entity indicates that they are stressed to their limit and are ready to break. True revolution is entirely possible. If the German banks are afraid of their potential loss exposure in Greece, imagine what they’d think of the costs of a military occupation to ‘restore order?’ They tried that once before, and it ended badly.

      1. Jeff

        You mean like “The President Who Kept Us Out of War”,
        Woodrow Wilson, getting the U.S. into WWI to force the German bondholders to repay the British and
        Americans?

    2. Jim Haygood

      Savage sentences like this are handed out like candy in the US.

      For instance, the penalties for crack cocaine are now only 12 times more severe than for powdered cocaine, down from 100 times more severe since 1986.

      It took only 25 years to correct this legislative drafting error, while people spent their lives in prison for victimless offenses.

      Looks like Greece is signing on to the American value of a ‘disinterested disposition to punish.’

  5. artmad

    “The young son of my host’s close friends was sentenced two days ago to 25 years in prison for agitation.He was hardly a radical – he was a promising student of naval architecture at the Athens Technical University. Examples are being set.”
    This is rubbish. Greece is a democracy and I very much doubt people get 25 years in prison for “agitation”. Unless by “agitation” you mean terrorism, or some kind of violent action… Still it would have to be something pretty serious.
    That´s an extraordinary claim and requires extraordinary proof (or at least some freaking context). Without it, we can assume it is a lie and dismiss the whole “report” as a fantasy.
    I have to say, Americans (even bloggers) seem hell bent in perpetuating the notion that they don´t know nothing about foreign countries.

    1. craazyman

      I’m kind of gullible, so I’d believe it — conforming as it does to my pre-existing prejudices.

      Still you’re right. There should be some form of evidence to support this. Did it actually happen? What did the guy do? What court?

      It sounds apocryphal, no pun intended.

      Does anyone doubt that Greece is sliding toward it’s own private Albert Camus moment? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rebel
      The answer is yes. And those who doubt are the financial literati, which is an oxymoron and double-entendre all in one.

      It should be not very much fun to watch if you can feel other people’s pain, which omits quite a subset of the population including the oxymorons and all their derivatives.

      1. craazyman

        ooops. bad link. here’s the right one for people who are bored enough to click on it.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rebel_(book)

        1. Valissa

          Ah yes, Camus… thanks for the link! Once upon a time I went through an existentialist phase. I did not read The Rebel, but I did read a few other books.

          Possibly my favorite was “The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays”. I think the Myth of Sisyphus is a pretty good metaphor for both the Greek bailout and the unification of Europe.

          The related wikpedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Sisyphus

          1. craazyman

            Ah the old masters! I think AC was at his best when he didn’t try to be logical, with all the abstractions that implies. That essay he wrote about his return to Tipasa, one of the last in The Rebel, that was it. But the other nonsense about whether an absurd life is worth living, all that dialectic and debate, forget it. He was also at his best in La Chute. But I couldn’t finish The Plague. I prefer Ionesco on that theme. There are too many books, too many good ones, too many good writers, too much to read. Out of fatigue and hopelessness at the magnitude of it, I started channeling, just to get it all at once, without the repetitive lifting, and anyway, you have to make it yours somehow or it all just sits there gathering dust. And that’s what they did, channeling that is.

    2. Valissa

      re: the 25 years prison sentence

      That seemed odd to me too. Over and over again the MSM, and esp. the progressive media, discuss how (of the western nations) the US is the country that throws people into prison the easiest and for the longest time periods.

      Also Greece has a long history of protesting (and radical groups) and there appear to be long standing cultural norms about the way the police and protestors interact.

      Therefore I find the 25 year charge for such a minor act as “agitation” quite extreme and would need more hard evidence about the surrounding circumstances before believing that

      1. artmad

        Actually, I have found that two guys were sentenced to 25 years a couple of days ago, on charges of terrorism, involvement in several explosions, and manufacturing and possession of explosives. If my Google is correct, they don´t deny being anarchists involved in armed struggle, under the flamboyant name of “The Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire”.
        If one of those is the person the author is talking about, I wonder what it would take to be considered a “radical” by him.
        If this is just a coincidence, it still shows that it takes much more than “agitation” to get sentenced to 25 years in Greece.

        1. Valissa

          That makes sense, as violence or potential violence like that would trigger a stronger response from authorities and bring more severe sentencing, esp. in today’s anti-terrorist climate. Thanks for the information!

          1. Cedric Regula

            Agreed. We need more information.

            If you go thru the countryside and blow up grain silos, you may get off with a charge of “cereal killer”.

            But if you intend to blow up government buildings full of low level bureaucrats, then expect a charge more like conspiracy to commit mass murder.

            But if you win the battle, you can charge the other side with treason, and that carries the death penalty.

            It’s complicated. I know.

          2. ambrit

            Mr Regula;
            Indeed it is. Just look at the circumstances surrounding Timmy McViegh and the Oklahoma City bombing. Too many loose ends and stonewalls for an easy conscience there. “An Army of One” my a—!

    3. dejauvuagain

      I am involved in litigation in the Greek courts now. So, I would believe the story. My clients’ property was seized on zero evidence three years ago, and, we have yet to receive a hearing before a proper court. Last time the matter was adjourned for 18 months.

      In Greece, the court files are private. The court clerk/secretary, assuming they are working and not on strike or holiday, may or may not let you look at the files in your own case.

      My Greek counterpart lawyer is very sophisticated and somewhat embarrassed as to the courts of his country.

      So, yes, and having been in Greece during the junta, yes, I would not dismiss the story so easily, though Greeks are known to exaggerate. The junta folks are still in Greece and never went to jail

      Sort of like the bank disaster here – nothing happened to the miscreants and they are still under the rocks in Greece waiting to come out again.

      What a beautiful country with beautiful people and very smart young people and a very difficult older generation.

      Of course, I know people who lived through the Nazi occupation as children, the Greek civil war, and the junta – and that was not so long ago. We in the US have nothing to compare with the recent history of the Greeks.

      1. aet

        This is the internet.
        Where’s a link to the story in a news ?

        No link = no story (it’s pure BS).

        It isn’t BS? Then why no link?

        And once one is provided, we shall assess that link for credibility, before we accept this tale as being in any way near the truth.

      2. Psychoanalystus

        I agree, the Greek property laws are a joke. Property rights are almost non-existent, for Greeks or non-Greeks alike. We managed to sell our house in Greece last year, but not before we had to bribe every clerk that we came across.

        Psychoanalystus

    4. PT Barnum

      That´s an extraordinary claim and requires extraordinary proof (or at least some freaking context). Without it, we can assume it is a lie and dismiss the whole “report” as a fantasy.

      That’s really funny. My simple answer is two officers, noble and true, who would never ever lie, said he hit them.. or pushed them. You do believe them, don’t you?

      And off to jail he goes.

      You know this. I know this. Everyone knows this.

      That means that the writer of the above is simply a lying whore.

      1. Maju

        Do you believe policemen “just because”? I do not in principle: they are often torturers and abuse their power. I do not live in Candyland, sorry, I know how hard and fascist is the reality of power, specially in Mediterranean Europe, regardless of ritual elections (what they call “democracy”) or not.

  6. Susan the other

    Greece could not have aligned with the eastern block because in 1945/6 Britain, NATO and the US pushed hard to keep Greece “western.” A heritage thing, but also strategic. And all the follies up till now have been place holding. Greece was entraped by the European Economic Union long ago. Now it is officially one of the states of Europe. It has not been lost to history. It has been folded into the new Europe. What would its fate have been otherwise? It could have aligned with Romania, maybe? Or Turkey, which itself would rather be European than middle-eastern. Greece could not stand alone in this world. Things will work out.

    1. Psychoanalystus

      It could have aligned itself with Russia. In fact it pretty much has already. The Russians are buying up land and property in Greece like crazy. I think other Eastern European nations will eventually gravitate toward Russia. Some have already.

  7. The lives of others

    You all seem so sophisticated in matters American.
    As soon as the subject is Greece, the discussion becomes naive or moronic. Greece and Greek people are very complicated and have a very complicated and traumatic ancient and modern history.
    There are a myriad factors and actors at play.
    The situation there defies easy categorization and simple recipes.

    1. TC

      What you say no doubt is reasonable. Yet the matter of forming communities of principle around simple yet profound commonalities seems a worthy pursuit. I know little about Greece, yet I do believe were the United States to lead in reinstating a Glass-Steagall reform of its banking system, then assert its unique capacity to organize a credit system directing finance to projects aiming to transform its physical economy, then within this framework there would be opportunities for arresting disharmony in Greece as well, through massive joint ventures likewise aiming for transformative effect. I couldn’t tell you what commonalities, specifically, might be engaged, but I do believe there are frameworks in which opportunities for cooperation seeking to elevate the interests of all more effectively can be cultivated, and abundantly.

      At the epicenter, though, is nation state. No matter how little I know about Greece, I understand that, without ability to assert a well-deliberated national will, then capacity to cultivate a community of principle is constrained.

      Seeing the euro-zone periphery situation as an attack on national sovereignty and the right to political self determination — this at the distance of the United States, with its profound, principled history and its muscle unlike anything available at the time its principle first was laid forth — I am certain that, what Greeks do is my concern, as an American, only as regards power the United States could exert in lending supreme value to Greek dissent in a manner very much in keeping with the United States’ like dissent against the same tyranny.

    2. Psychoanalystus

      My friend, that sounds like typical Greek exceptionalist bullshit to me.

      Let’s make things simple: every country in Europe and the world for that matte has had and continues to have extremely complicated factors at work in their past and present. It’s not just Greece. You cannot say that the Greeks have been more heroic in their pitiful “protests” than the Romanians who stopped bullets with their bodies in the streets of Timisoara or the Polish in Gdansk. So please, do everybody a favor, and cut back on the Greek exceptinalist BS, because you really are insulting the Romanians and the Polish, and more recently, the Egyptians, Tunisians, and Syrians.

      Now go back to your frappe before it warms up, and make sure that you talk up some real heroism with your friends.

      Thank you.

  8. artmad

    Come to think of it, I may be guilty of the same thing I am accusing (ignoring differences between countries). I realize I don´t know if the guy who wrote that is from the US, and I think Yves is Canadian.
    Still I think it is fair to say that this page belongs to the american blogosphere, and I think the criticism is fair.
    Just last week Ritholtz wrote that the Spanish deficit might have doubled, which is ridiculous,and never bothered to correct it,and since then I have been more sensitive about that kind of thing.

  9. Soullite

    If some cop hit me and people came to my defense, only to be shouted down by the people supposedly on my side, then I’d never want anything to do with those protesters ever again.

    At some point you all have to acknowledge that peaceful protest failed miserably in this instance. It didn’t stop anything; it didn’t get anything done. So congratulations on being useless and doing what the power-elite want you to do: Absolutely nothing.

      1. reslez

        I, on the other hand, am completely unimpressed by your repeated (and boring) ignorant assumptions.

        You have no idea as to the background of the multitudes you insult (“Internet tough guy”). There is no requirement to stamp one’s RL bona fides on every post like boilerplate. Clearly you would be satisfied with nothing less, though based on your vacuous catcalls you would undoubtedly require certified proof, and when received declare your target a childish radical.

        Your comments exist only to disparage those who criticize the status quo. You have no other purpose.

          1. Bryonie Pritchard

            reslez (to “and i says”) “Your comments exist only to disparage those who criticize the status quo. You have no other purpose.”

            and i says:

            Ha ha! Good one!

            : )

            Laugh all you want, you piece of trash, reslez nailed it. Your only purpose here is to attack anyone who dares to criticize the status quo.

          2. and i

            Why are you so upset? Do you feel threatened? Do you see me as your enemy?

            Go outside. Take a walk, Pobrecito. It’ll be ok, I promise.

            : D

          3. A Good Bankster

            and i says: “Why are you so upset? Do you feel threatened? Do you see me as your enemy?”

            I’m into, oh murders and executions mostly. It depends.

          4. A Good Bankster

            Disintegration….. I’m taking it in stride.

            The only cheese I have in the apartment is a wedge of Brie in the refrigerator and before leaving I place the entire slice – it’s a really big rat – along with a sun-dried tomato and a sprinkling of dill, delicately on the trap, setting it.

  10. Dan Duncan

    So….In this post and thread we have the following:

    A Greek can get 25 years for mere agitation.

    Nevertheless “Greeks are not intrepid” and they should agitating even more.

    BUT…The 25 years for agitation seems like a spurious claim.

    Oh yeah…and the Germans are to blame…cuz I know that’s what you were thinking.

    OK, then…good stuff!

  11. anonymous.gr

    I’m Greek, and you guys are cracking me up.

    For normal working people life goes on just fine. The idiots in the square are gone; went for vacations in one of the more laid back islands in the Aegean.

    Newsflash! What’s going on in my country is the liberation of the hard working 70% of the population from the tyranny of the well connected and lazy 30% of privileged twits. Like the ones that managed to sneak in the public sector jobs (paying twice than that of the private sector while doing nothing). Or the ‘closed’ professions of a taxi driver, hairdresser, college professor, lawyer and so on.

    They do make an awful lot of noise, since they know that the good life they had in our expense is now over. They have to *shudder* work for a living now.

    So please try to find another place to have your televised revolution, we’re going to be too busy to bother.

    1. Cahal

      Thank you for confirming to me that banks do, in fact, hire people to post on the internet.

      1. Maju

        Think in positive: at least they create jobs, even if only for the most immoral among us. Sadly that guy is surely not even Greek but more likely posting from Manhattan, London or Frankfurt.

    2. Jeff

      How is being a hairdresser a “closed profession”?

      Vietnamese in California have nearly monopolized the nail salon business because it’s the easiest state license that they can obtain. Are you saying that the licensing
      boards in Greece are so strong that they control it?

      1. Up the Ante

        My, we have broken out the humor in this thread, haven’t we?

        Sprinklings of dill, hairdressers ..

        Laughing, with tears in my eyes.

        1. Up the Ante

          .. still laughing, literally, 10 minutes later.

          “Crack me up” is an understatement when some of you are motivated.

          Very good.

  12. Anon

    I wish those in Greece well in their struggles against the iniquity wrought by credit default swaps and other financial weapons of mass destruction. (It really isn’t metaphorical any more, is it?)

    We are all potentially Latvians now, Greece is merely the Western European test bed – to see how far this thing can be pushed, what can be gotten away with. Unless resistance is met, of course.

    “Sell us your Acropolis, your Eiffel Tower, your Pyramids at Giza, your Mount Rushmore – because you owe us” – vampires, all of them, afflicted with insatiable greed.

    The public realm must be disappeared, along with the dissenters. 25 years for a naval architect? That’s nothing. Aaron Swartz is looking at 35.

  13. Externality

    The ‘crime’ of ‘agitation’ is also popular with authoritarian left-wing governments. They fear, with good reason, anyone who listens to the advice of Frederick Douglass (and later Lenin) to “agitate, agitate, agitate.” As explained below, the former USSR even created numerous crimes called “”Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.”

    The famous political theorist Mikhail Bakunin observed that left-wing governments, no less than those on the right, favor the centralization of power. This, in turn, he argued, requires a strong central banking system and, in turn, the tools (e.g., police) to enforce the central bankers’ will and parasitism against the workers who object. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakunin He also harshly criticized left-wing governments that relied on what we would now call technocrats, believing that they would become the new privileged class and turn the government into an arm of the banks.

    It will be the reign of scientific intelligence, the most aristocratic, despotic, arrogant and contemptuous of all regimes. There will be a new class, a new hierarchy of real and pretended scientists and scholars, and the world will be divided into a, minority ruling in the name of knowledge and an immense ignorant majority. And then, woe betide the mass of ignorant ones!

    Such a regime will not fail to arouse very considerable discontent in this mass and in order to keep it in check the enlightenment and liberating government of Marx will have need of a not less considerable armed force. For the government must be strong, says Engels, to maintain order among these millions of illiterates whose brutal uprising would be capable of destroying and overthrowing everything, even a government directed by heads overflowing with brains.

    http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/bakunin/works/mf-state/ch03.htm
    Bakunin’s warnings have come to fruition: the “Socialist” government of Greece used considerable force against Greek citizens for the benefit of the European Central Bank officials and international bankers who now effectively run Greece. The Greek (and EU) technocrats who have governed Greece and (the EU) in splendid isolation for decades have now decreed that average Greeks must suffer for the technocrats’ and bankers’ mistakes of judgment. Without a strong police force, the “Socialist” Greek government never would have been able to enforce the bankers’ and technocrats’ will over the objections of the Greek people. It is no surprise that the Greek and EU governments could want to criminalize objecting to or agitating against their actions.

    The former USSR, for example, made it a capital crime to engage in “Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Soviet_agitation Soviet citizens were routinely arrested, sent to psychiatric prisons (psikhushkas), imprisoned, or executed because they peacefully criticized the USSR, its policies, or its allies. Anyone who possessed, produced, disseminated, or stored materials criticizing the USSR, its policies, or its allies, was similarly punished. Even those charged under the post-Stalin, non-capital provisions sometimes died from extreme extrajudicial abuse.

  14. Externality

    “A radical is one who speaks the truth.” — Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr. (father of the famous aviator)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_August_Lindbergh#Famous_quotes

    Congressman Lindbergh was labeled a “radical” by the Wilson administration for opposing the creation of the Federal Reserve and US entry into WW I. The Wilson administration then had the printing plates for his book, “Why is Your Country at War?,” destroyed as radical propaganda.

  15. Philip Pilkington

    The EU is in a very weird place at the moment. They’ve really alienated the youth. Today, that simply means arrests of protesters and the like… but tomorrow? I’m not so sure.

    I know people working in EU institutions at the moment who don’t generally argue when I say that the whole thing is turning into a disaster with the EMU. Its well weird.

    1. Externality

      A recent article on Presseurop, originally from Spiked, argues that the EU not used to even considering public opinion or input:

      No more working behind closed doors

      […]

      The rhetoric of responsibility aversion amongst EU policymakers is underpinned by the realisation that their institution lacks the authority and the political resources to deal with the current crisis. It is important to remember that the EU is a technocratic institution that has always responded to challenges by cobbling together deals behind closed doors. From its inception, the EU was an elitist managerial project that was able to construct and promote its agenda without having to respond directly to popular pressure. Decisions are never arrived at through public debate, and the majority of EU laws are formulated by the hundreds of secret working groups set up by the Council of the EU. Most of the sessions of the Council of Ministers are held in private, and the EU’s unelected European Commission has the sole right to put forward legislation.

      The most distinctive feature of the EU’s governance is that it is systematically pursued through insulated decision-making. For decades the EU political establishment has self-consciously constructed institutions that could insulate it from the necessity of having to respond to the type of public pressure faced by a democratic parliament. This invisible decision-making allowed a variety of political actors in Brussels, and in Europe’s national capitals, to avoid taking responsibility for unpopular decisions. In effect, policymakers were insulated from having to account for the consequences of their decisions.

      http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/787851-no-more-working-behind-closed-doors

      1. Externality

        Should be:

        A recent article on Presseurop, originally from Spiked, argues that the EU is not used to even considering public opinion or input:

    2. PT Barnum

      Today it means they are reduced to frantic whining when a third rate country ruled by a transvestite tells them to *bleep* off.

      You do know the country I’m talking about?

  16. dbk

    NC readers who would like to follow the ongoing discussion re: the Greek selective default/debt re-structuring and associated Eurozone actions might find the blog of Univ of Athens economics professor Yanis Varoufakis (yanisvaroufakis.eu)interesting (it’s an informed source from inside Greece, written entirely in English).

  17. Psychoanalystus

    >>> The level of political awareness here is far higher than in America, but it will be interesting to see if people are able to change what the authorities have planned for them. I suspect that Greece is a small rehearsal for what will be coming to the US eventually, in one form or another. <<<

    Yes, the level of political awareness is higher in Greece than in America, but unlike the Greeks, the American civilian population is well armed.

    So maybe the NRA is good for something after all.

    Psychoanalystus

    1. KFritz

      Think twice. Think thrice. The profile of the average multiple firearm owner is not reassuring. Chimps w/ guns would be safer.

      1. ambrit

        Dear KFritz;
        Much as it pains me, I must agree with you when we consider that the biggest ‘multiple gun owners’ here in the US are the governments; from local police force up to Pentagon Strategic Deterrance Force.

        1. Ransome

          More importantly, they have an unlimited supply of ammo. A rifle without ammo is called a club.

    2. ambrit

      Absolutely right Psych. It’s most obvious here in the semi-rural Deep South. Not all Rednecks are created equal either. A lot of them are closer to ‘real’ Libertarianism than the elites know. The Founding Fathers were just as smart as anyone today, perhaps more so. They put in that pesky Second Amendment for a reason, and made it vague enough so it could grow and adapt as events matured.

    3. attempter

      I often think that if the elites could undo much of what they’ve encouraged where it comes to gun rights, they would.

  18. evan

    Another Greek commenting:

    “The authorities here are nervous, to say the least. The young son of my host’s close friends was sentenced two days ago to 25 years in prison for agitation. He was hardly a radical – he was a promising student of naval architecture at the Athens Technical University…”

    Could it be that this ‘prominent’ young man was one of the so called ‘Pirines tis Fotias’ (the i pronounced as in ‘kit’), an acknowledged terrorist group, responsible for numerous explosive parcels delivered in Greece and abroad?
    Worry not, he’ll probably be out in like 15 years (3/5ths of the sentence), probably even less, with good conduct, since their ‘agitated’ explosions were, thankfully, without collateral casualties. Actually, one of their parcels exploded in a courier office, near my work (as I was crossing the street). Again thankfully no one was injured.

    From the Europol `TE-SAT 2011: EU Terrorism situation and trend report’ [https://www.europol.europa.eu/content/publication/te-sat-2011-eu-terrorism-situation-trend-report-673]:
    “Some attacks in 2010 showed signs of increased transnational coordination between groups. A parcel bomb campaign in November targeted various embassies, foreign Heads of State, and European institutions.
    It is the first time that the Greek terrorist organisation
    Synomosia Pyrinon Fotias has staged such a large-scale synchronised attack, which attracted widespread media coverage. The motive and selection of targets remain unclear. It appears that the organisation has raised its profile towards a more international dimension. An international call for action was issued in a communiqué and promptly caused similar actions in Italy and Argentina.”

    Relevant news articles (both sides of the story)
    *Un-commented report on the trial’s outcome [http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_19/07/2011_399018] (in english)
    *Commented report on the same newspaper [http://news.kathimerini.gr/4dcgi/_w_articles_ell_2_20/07/2011_449873] (in greek)
    *Assumed connections with other terrorist groups [http://www.tovima.gr/society/article/?aid=401999] (in greek)
    *Cry out for unfair sentences [http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.ellada&id=295812] (in greek)

  19. evan

    As for the heat comment, you are most welcome to stand in the middle of the concrete Syntagma plaza, in the heat (38-40C), under the sun. Although you’ll find most (tourists or natives) prefer to sunbathe nearer to the beach.

    And (really I couldn’t help not commenting) about the comparison to the Arab spring. Really, I do understand that as an external observer one has the privilege of making astute remarks that would elude any involved observer (i.e. me who is actually living in Greece, and has to commute through Athens centre). But comparing the pacifist and less pacifists protests in Greece with the truly inspiring ones (even if their end result proves less inspiring) that took place in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world, seems to me pure non-sense. I mean no insult, but it’s like comparing oranges to apples. Greece has been enjoying freedom, human rights and democracy for the last few decades (referendum of the 8 Dec 1974, after the fall of a military dictatorship and the ). Yes, a democracy with all its inherit problems, its corruption, inefficiency, its weakness, etc. but nevertheless a free, democratic country. I find it deeply insulting towards the brave protesters of the Arab spring, to even contemplate that the protests in Greece are comparable. That, for example, the latest protests and strikes of cab drivers — because their guild-like inheritable profession is being opened up — have any glimpse of the bravery and nobility of a fight for human respect and freedom, demonstrated in the Arab world this year.

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